The Difference

While Chandra-Peeda was King of Kanchan Nagar, a man named Dhaval was at his court. Dhaval never went home straight from court. By the time he reached home late at night, he had already had his dinner, drink and pan.

One day his wife asked him, “How is it that you always have your dinner outside? Who feeds you every day, and why?”

“I’ve two good friends,” Dhaval replied. “One of them is Kalyan-Varma, who will not deny me anything in his possession. The other is Veer- bahu who will lay down his life for my sake. He is such a great friend to me.”

Dhaval’s Lady was pleased to know that her husband had such worthy friends. “I should like to meet these good friends of yours,” she told Dhaval.

“You shall meet them,” Dhaval told her. “Come with me tomorrow. We shall visit both of them.”

The following day they went to Kalyan-Varma first. He lavished such hospitality upon them that Dhaval’s wife was convinced that her husband did not exaggerate in the least the good points of that gentleman.

Then they went to the house of Veer-Bahu. At the moment, Veer-bahu was deeply engrossed in a game of chess. He looked once at Dhaval and said, “Ah, you’ve come. Won’t you sit?” Then he lost himself in the game again. After a time, Dhaval said to his friend, “We shall get along now.” “All right,” Veer-bahu said without lifting his eyes from the chessboard.

Dhaval’s wife was not impressed with Veer-Bahu. “You gave me the impression,” she said to Dhaval,” that Veer-bahu was the better friend. But it was Kalyan-Varma who gave us a better reception.”

“Ah, if you want to see the difference between them,” Dhaval replied, “go to both of them and inform them that I incurred the King’s wrath.”

So Dhaval’s wife started alone the following day. She went first to Kalyan-Varma and said, “Sir, the King is angry with your friend. Won’t you help him?”

Kalyan-Varma turned pale and said,” Lady, I’m just a merchant. What can I do in opposition to the King? Let your husband leave the country for his safety.”

Then she went to Veer-bahu and repeated the same thing to him. At once, Veer-bahu reached for his shield and sword. He rushed to Dhaval’s house and said in a great rage, “O friend! who is the scoundrel that poisoned the King’s mind against you? Tell me at once so I can hack him to pieces with my sword!”

“No need for all that, my friend,” Dhaval said, smiling. “The minister has interceded on my behalf, and the King is now pacified.”

“Now you know the difference between my friends,” Dhaval told his wife after Veer-bahu’s departure.

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